What Are Fake Clinics?
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Have you seen these popular CPC advertisements?
"Pregnant? Need Help? You Have Options!”
“Pregnant? Scared? We Can Help! Call 1-800-XXX-XXXX”
“Free Pregnancy Tests!”
They advertise on your campus and in your community with names like, “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” and “Pregnancy Resource Centers.” They pose as comprehensive women’s health clinics and advertise under “abortion” and “family planning” services. Although they are often located near comprehensive clinics, using similar sounding names, they do not offer abortion services, contraception, or referrals.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are typically run by anti-choice organizations with staff and volunteers who usually are not licensed medical professionals. They often use misinformation to intimidate women from considering abortion and provide false information about birth control and the effectiveness of condoms for the prevention of STIs and HIV. Ultimately, their tactics delay women from receiving comprehensive medical care.
Fake clinics target college students by locating near campuses and advertising “free” pregnancy tests. According to a 2008 survey by the Feminist Majority Foundation, 48% of responding Campus Health Centers include CPCs on their referral lists for students facing unintended pregnancies.
It is estimated that 3,500 CPCs exist nationwide, outnumbering comprehensive women’s health clinics 2 to 1. Most fake clinics are affiliated with one or more national anti-abortion, anti-birth control organizations.
A Congressional investigation of CPCs revealed that 87% provided false or misleading information about the health effects of abortion. The Congressional report found many of these federally funded centers grossly misrepresent the medical risks of abortion by telling women that having an abortion could increase the risk of breast cancer, result in sterility and lead to suicide and “post-abortion syndrome.” Abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk or infertility. An eleven year longitudinal study of 13,000 women found that women who give birth have the same rate of need for psychological treatment as women who have abortions.
1United States Congress House Committee on Government Reform, Special Investigations Division. False and Misleading Health Information Provided by Federally Funded Pregnancy Resource Centers. 109th Cong., 2nd Sess., 2006. Washington: GPO, 2006, p. i.
2 Ibid, p. 7 – 13.
3 Ibid, p. 7, 9.
4 Ibid, p. 11.